Hard can be good

Some of the best lessons we learn in our lives, come from something that was extremely difficult to get through.  And some of those lessons seem to be ongoing.  In hisOctober 2017 talk Stanley G. Ellis said, “Hard makes us stronger, humbles us, and gives us a chance to prove ourselves.  Hard can be good!”

Hard can be good

As I studied the words from his talk this weekend, I was taken back to many experiences that were extremely difficult at the time, but that now I can look back on and see the personal growth that came through or because of those experiences.  I’m sure that you can too.  But what can we do when we are in the midst of those hard times?

One of my favorite people ever, Zandra Vranes (I got to meet her personally in October this year), gave this wise counsel. “Rely on the lord, for only He can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and whats broken into something beautiful.”  I love that so much! And it reminded me once again of the scripture found in the Bible, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thy own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Very many times in our lives we experience pain, suffering, hard trials, challenges, etc.  that threaten to break us.  But it is through our trust in the Lord that we can become strong.  I know that there are people that will argue the statement “Things happen for a reason”,  but I strongly believe that.  We don’t always see and may never see it in this lifetime.  But God does have a plan for us.  It’s important to note that He does not make or intend for bad things to happen in our lives, but He is definitely there to pick us up and carry us along the way.

I also believe the fact that there are no coincidences. It seems that whenever I feel that all is lost, the Lord finds a way to remind me that He is always there and always will be even when it feels like he is not.

I believe that God is always working behind the scenes to build us and shape us.  Are there things that happen that are horrible in this world and in our personal lives? Absolutely! And sometimes we see people go through challenges that may be completely unbearable.  But if we are always putting a negative spin on things that happen in our lives, we will never truly be able to see the lessons we have or need to learn from our experiences.  And sometimes (a lot of the time) we have those experiences so that we can empathize and have love for and help one another.

Again quoting from Stanely G. Ellis’ talk, “Do we trust His commandments to be for our good? His leaders, though imperfect, to lead us well? His promises to be sure? Do we trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do know us and want to help us? Even in the midst of trials, challenges, and hard times, do we still trust Him?”

Hard is part of the plan.  Think of a baby chick who has to break through the shell unassisted.  A seed that has to break through the hard soil to grow into a beautiful tall tree.  A butterfly who breaks free of the chrysalis that binds it.  All of the examples from nature are a beautiful reminder that hard can be good!

I know it’s not easy especially in the midst of something hard, to think about it in a positive light.  But if we can rely on the Lord, trust that He knows what the bigger picture is and then look to Him to help us get through the hard things, we may be able to see that there is a purpose after all.

Please know that you are never alone in your struggles.  And if you ever feel like you are, please reach out. There are angels among us that are meant to help us through hard things.  Please don’t suffer in silence.  God is always there, even when we do not understand the whys.

XO Wendy

 

I will go and do…

I LOVE the youth theme and song for 2020.  I have posted it here and I hope that you will take a few minutes to start your day off knowing that the Lord is with you to lead and guide you if you choose Him first!

That theme comes from the Book of Mormon scripture:

And it came to pass that I Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1Nephi 3:7)

There are many tasks that the Lord has given us that are hard and standing for what you believe in is not easy in the world that we live in daily.  We are constantly bombarded with negative messages and media that can dull our spirit and lead us on a path that draws us further and further away from the light of Christ.

Positivity and faith in God have always been characteristics that I value.  I find that as I move closer and closer to the light of Christ the more the world seems to melt away.

Yes life is hard and we encounter decisions that are really tough every single day.  But we can depend on our Savior to hold us up when we can no longer stand.  We can fall to our knees and plead with Him to help us find the way.

We are instructed over and over again in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that if we keep his commandments he will prosper us.  I think that statement can mean so many different things to different people and various situations.  To me it has come to have many meanings.  Not only have I seen the monetary benefits of living and keeping the commandments, I have seen so many physical and emotional benefits.  He literally heals me every day as I listen to and follow His way.

It’s never easy and sometimes it seems impossible.  But the Lord keeps his promises.  He WILL NOT fail us.

I remember one specific time when my husband and I were going through a pretty rough trial.  It felt at times that we were trudging through the mud, sometimes stuck in the muck unable to get traction. One day when it seemed impossible that we would ever get through it all, I had a distinct impression come over me.  I felt in my minds eye the spirit whisper to me, “keep going, there is a light at the end of this tunnel”, and for a moment I felt so much relief.  And then, I heard the quiet whisper again “But……” (uh oh, I thought now what?).  And then ever so quietly I heard the words ” but you are not there yet.”  And I remember weeping at the thought that we had to continue on this hard path for who knew how much longer?  But I’d been given that small moment of relief to know that we were getting there. Slowly.  By our obedience and faith and our positive outlook, we were getting there.  I had hope again.

stand for something IG

Standing for what we believe and know is right, is never easy.  But it will be so worth it. The Lord WILL provide a way for us to do what he has asked us to do. And even though it seems like all hope is lost at times.  He will not forsake us (I will never leave thee or forsake thee.  Hebrews 13:5).  HE WILL provide a way.  For that we can be sure.

Please know that you are never alone.

XO Wendy

 

Consistency is Key

Ok So yesterday we talked about making changes and just taking one step in a positive direction. How’d you do? Hopefully it lit a fire under you to make a change that will move you closer to who you want to be. And now how do you make that happen? How do you become what or who you want to be? CONSISTENCY is the Key!
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Guys, I’m not kidding when I talk about this. It’s a critical part of the decision that you just made to make a change. Now, your challenge is going to be that you stay consistent in your goal. Meaning you work on it every day. Every day. Every day! What does that look like?

It looks like filling your life and your mind with the things that support the step forward that you have taken or the change that you are instituting.

When I was a young mom and my children all started school. I decided that I wanted to do something or make a change that would help me kind of find my identity as a woman again. Not something completely selfish but something where I could improve myself and help others along the way.

I had a friend that had encouraged me to get into pageantry. Run for a MRS. title. And so after brooding about it and feeling stuck and telling myself all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t do it. I finally decided to make a move forward. Just do it. I made that decision and then I moved! And you know what? It was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to see so many positive changes in myself and others, because we had a “platform” which was something that we believed strongly about and wanted to make a difference with. I chose mentoring and worked with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. I got to see changes in myself, but more importantly, I got to see other’s lives change through me. I didn’t win the title that first year, but because I worked hard and I was super consistent, I placed first runner up. So of course I knew that I would do it again the next year because naturally I wanted to win. 😉

But in order to do that, I had to continue to be consistent. I didn’t just stop working after that first pageant (in the off season). I didn’t procrastinate until it came closer to that next pageant. I worked my tail off. Physically, mentally and spiritually and also with the children that I worked with (including my own family), so that I would be able to present my best self.

And it totally paid off! I won the title of Mrs. Utah in 2001. I reached that goal, and it felt so good to know that I had really made some positive changes in the lives of those around me, my family, my relationships and especially in myself. But a big thing that I learned through that experience is that it wasn’t the end goal that mattered most. It was the things that I learned on journey by being consistent and working hard!

Now that’s a story that I don’t share a lot about because since that time there have been a lot of other changes in my life that have become incredible moments for me. But it was a defining moment for me because I realized I could do hard things! And I could reach big goals! But I had to be consistent in working towards those goals. And so can you!

Take the choice you made for change and make consistent steps toward that change everyday. Everyday. Everyday!

XO

 

Taking action

Yesterday we talked about action words.  And Last week we talked about how powerful “words” can be.  Especially from our own self talk. In order to make lasting change you have to take action.  You can’t just think or wish that things will happen.  You have to take action and move somewhere, whether that’s forward or backward, you have to move.

And you have to believe in yourself and talk positively “I can do this”!  Because you can.

So many times we get so many different pans in the oven (and I am famous for this), that when it comes to taking action, we become frozen because there are so many choices.  Where do I go first?  How do I make this change in my life?

But the important part is that you just have to make a choice, and then MOVE!  This choice is not going to determine the rest of your life.  It is one step in a positive direction.  Take the step.  Move forward, then evaluate and take another step.

Ready, fire, aim

I listen to several podcasts about self-development or improvement and one that I listen to is called Next Level Life by Preston Pugmire.  In it he talks a lot about changing your mindset and also about a  strategy or idea called Ready, Fire, Aim.  This is a bit different than what we usually hear (ready, aim, fire).  He teaches the idea that we have to pull back the arrow and “fire” (act, do something), then see where the arrow lands, then evaluate and take another shot.  But the point being we have to MAKE A MOVE.

As we come up on the end of the year.  I hope that we will come at it sprinting to the end of it.  And then breaking through the tape and running straight on into 2020 full steam.  We can change, we can take control and start seeing the results of our effort!

I love this quote from Philip Floor’s book Ready, Fire, Aim.  ” Expecting things to change, without being willing to change, will result in no change—because nothing changed.”

Have a great day, we’ll do it again tomorrow.

XO Wendy

Changes….

 

butterflies changeIt’s Monday and Mondays are always a good time to renew our promises to ourselves and maybe set some new goals for the week.  Even when things haven’t gone the way we would have hoped in the previous week, we can’t let that stand in the way of improvement.

Today I want to talk a little bit about change.  For one, it is about the only constant that we can count on in our lives.  Situations that are beyond our control can change everything in moment.  Our bodies are constantly in a state of change.  Jobs change, relationships change, and the weather changes.  Some things, like the weather change on a daily basis.  And other things like our moods for example take more time.

We are well into the Fall/Winter season and so many that suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are probably having some pretty rough days. As the days become shorter and more cold, our moods can become darker and more cold as well.

I was talking to my husband about how MY mood is doing this time around for the Fall/Winter season.  It is probably the first time in a very long time that I am still doing well at this time of year.  Of course we are only about a quarter of the way into the changing of the seasons. 🙂

Some of the reasons for this are very traceable.  I have done a lot of work on my mental health over the past 4 years.  It certainly has not been easy and it has not been quick.  It has however, been extremely worth the effort.  I am much more balanced than I have been in past years as far as the 10 habits that I talked about here and here.

But I think even more than that, I have finally come to a sort of acceptance of what bipolar IS to me and what it IS NOT.  (And this goes for other illnesses and disorders as well). It IS something that I HAVE.  It is NOT something that I AM.  It does not define me, or who I am as a person. There is so much more to me than being sick.  It IS something that changes me mentally.  It IS NOT something that I have no control over.  I DO have a choice.  There was a time that I believed that I didn’t have choice.  That this is just my cross to bear and I have no say in it.

But that’s only partially true.  It is something that I have to bear, but there is A LOT that I can do to change, not only how I view it, but also how I live with it, as illustrated in the links above that I mentioned.  But the first and most important step, is to stop being “stuck” make a choice of where you want to be and then take a step in that direction.  It doesn’t have to be a gigantic decision.  But DO something to move you forward!

I believe one of the most significant changes that I have made in the past few years that has made an incredible difference is that I have learned that there is only one person that I can turn to in my times of greatest need.  And that is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the healer, He has transformed me in a way that I never could have managed on my own. But that didn’t just happen either.  It has taken a lot of work and continues to be  an ongoing process.  But I had to make the choice that I was going to TURN (action) toward the Lord.  That I was going to ASK (action) for help.  In the Bible it says:

7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;  knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK are all action words.  We can not just expect things to happen for us.  It is something that we have to work toward.  And it is an ongoing work that changes every day.  But it is one that we do not have to do on our own.  We will always have the Lord there to support us and cheer us on.  He wants us to be successful and happy and feel loved.  He wants us to know that we are worth it!  And He is just waiting for us to ask.

So today, ponder the word change which means to make or become different, transform.  Then decide to make the choice that you want your life to be different… better!

XO Wendy

Come…

Last week I was able to listen to the wife of President Rhys A. Weaver, Pamela, speak. They are the Nashville Tennessee mission leaders.   I was deeply touched by the things that she talked about.  Most of her talk revolved around one word, “come”.  She talked about the sweetness of that word and how we use it so much on a daily basis.  “Come with me to lunch.”  “Come give mommy a hug.”  Come read me a story.” “Come and pray with me.” Come with me to visit grandma.”  Come and see what I have for you.”  “Come shopping with me.” Etc.

What a beautiful word that is, so inviting and so warm.  There are so many times in the scriptures that the Savior invites us to “Come”, Come follow me.  When we think of all the ways that word is used so lovingly, doesn’t it make that plea to come follow Him even more tender? In Matthew 19:21 we read: Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

We had the missionaries from our church, over for dinner not too long ago and they shared a video with us that just has such feel good message that I decided to share it here, its pretty short but I love the message.

One thing that I love about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of which I am a member, is that we are so willing to serve.  We are a people full of faith and hope.  We are always some of the first responders whenever there is a natural disaster around the world.  And we are huge on helping refugees and the poor and needy.  It’s great to be a part of church that does it’s best to follow the Savior’s admonition to “Come follow me”.

We as members are far from perfect and are human just like everyone else.  So not everyone is as welcoming as some.  But we are trying to follow the Savior in all that we do.

As you know I share a lot of scriptures and talks here and I thought for those of you who aren’t familiar with our church, this would be a good place to share.

I would personally love to have you “come” and go to church or serve or go to an activity with me.  If you find yourself with no hope. Or if you have been away for a while like I had been. Come back! Come and Stay.

Have a good weekend everyone!

XO Wendy

Are you a hope maker or taker?

Have you ever had someone take your hope away simply by their words?  Have you ever been filled with despair because someone said something about you, or to you that was completely defeating?  Yeah, me too.  Words are very powerful! We can go from completely elated to simply defeated in the time it takes to say, “you can’t”, “you will never” or “that’s impossible for you”.

And even more important, is the way we talk to ourselves.  “It’s hopeless”,  I’m so stupid”, “I will never be….”, and my favorite, “I can’t…”  Why is it so easy for us to use words in such a negative way, especially to ourselves?  Well, I haven’t completely figured out the answer to that question.  But what I do know is that I have had my share of negative words thrown my way, spoken behind my back by others. As well as given to me through my own negative self-talk.  And I am positive that I am not so much different than anybody else.

So today I wanted to offer you some encouragement through the words of someone who had every right to lose hope, but somehow found it. This is well worth the 15 minutes out of your day to watch Nick Vujicic

Please use positive self talk and practice self love. Look for hope.  Find it. And live it!

XO Wendy